Buying locally produced Isle of Wight food and drink is one of the best ways we can all help to get our Island back on its feet.

With this in mind, a ‘buy local’ scheme has been launched by Natural Enterprise and Wight Marque to encourage us all to enjoy the produce we have on our doorsteps and, in so doing, help our local businesses during the crucial ‘recovery’ stage we’re now in.

Food and drink produced on the Island is, genuinely, some of the best in the country. has the details.

Last week I dropped into one farm store, Farmer Jack’s, to taste a new range of cheese curds made near Brighstone — they were absolutely delicious — and cider made in Ventnor’s caves at the old railway station - likewise excellent.

Buying local is not an act of charity — there are many good reasons why shopping local is the right thing to do in the long-term. We have an incredible selection of high-quality produce: meat and dairy, fruit and vegetables and local drink.

Isle of Wight produce is coveted throughout the UK catering and retail sector because of its high quality. Buying local also has a positive impact on the environment – significantly reduced haulage/transport distances and less packaging. I used to buy supermarket beef but frankly Island farmer Andrew Hodgson’s steaks are better than anything I’ve tasted to date, and they come with less or no packaging and many fewer ‘food miles’.

Freshness is another advantage — IW Milk from Briddlesford Farm, for example, can be produced in the morning and enjoyed during the afternoon. Our fruit and vegetables are sent all over the country to top restaurants and stores, but we get them first.

I cannot emphasise enough just how much Island businesses need our support. It’s good news that the majority of businesses are now reopening, however, we must recognise that many are not operating at full capacity and trade for many will be a great deal down on what they have been used to.

We now have the opportunity to support them by shopping in stores that sell Island produce and choosing their products in local cafes and restaurants.

It’s hard to think of many positives to emerge from the pandemic but maybe one result will be a greater appreciation of what we have right here on our doorsteps.

That Island website, again, is